Warm breezes. Bonfires. Half-day Fridays. Summer is the most carefree time of year, which means high-maintenance hair just won’t do. Here are 14 no-fuss looks to try.
Braided Side Bun
Charlize Theron’s intricate red-carpet braid becomes a cute vacation do with a few easy tweaks, says hairstylist David Babaii. “Part your hair on the right and create a left side ponytail with all but one section of hair from the right side,” he says. Next, secure the ponytail with an elastic and twist it into a loose bun. Take the loose section of hair, braid it, wrap it around your head, and work it into the bun. “Don’t try and make it look too neat—it totally works as a messy updo,” says Babaii. Keep flyaways at bay with a light mist of hair spray, like Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Hairspray Lightweight Hold.
“Kristin Cavallari’s boho updo is so easy, anyone can do it,” says Kristin Ess, who works with Lauren Conrad and Nikki Reed. Create two or three small braids with the front sections of your hair and secure them on the side with bobby pins. To keep them from looking too “done,” Ess goes through each braid and loosens it, loop by loop. “You want to make it look a little pulled apart,” she says. Her quick-bun tip: Use a Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin. It takes the place of 20 bobby pins, Ess says.
The Modified Skrillex
Are we urging you to shave one side of your head like Rihanna? No, but we think Skrillex undercuts are kind of fun for summer (but require a big commitment). The look from Ferragamo’s spring 2012 show is similar, completely office-appropriate—and a lot less permanent. “Pull the hair tightly on one side and secure it in the back with bobby pins,” says Babaii. Then, keep it all together with a strong-hold hair spray, like L’Oréal Professionnel Texture Expert Infinium 2 Working Spray, and consider releasing a dubstep record.
Sleek and Straight
Maintaining a smooth style like Mila Kunis’s can be tricky in heat and humidity, but Babaii has a sleek-blowout secret—a special summer cocktail. “Mix a straightening balm like Phyto Phytodéfrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm with half of a pea-size drop of a light oil or conditioner,” he says. “It won’t look too product-heavy, but it’ll add an extra seal to keep humidity out.” (A great one to try: Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil.) Use a large-barrel brush, like an Ibiza G Series Round Brush, and point the blow-dryer downward so as not to create extra volume.
We love bangs, but we hate trying to tame them all summer long. The solution is to let them do their thing—to a point, like Lea Michele does. Don’t bother flatironing them to perfection, but “concentrate on blowing them out before the rest of the hair. Otherwise, they’ll dry quickly and take a weird shape,” Babaii says. Add texture to the rest of your hair with a beach spray, like BlowPro Beach Blow Texturizing Mist, and a curling iron, like BaByliss Pro GT Gold Titanium 1 1/2″ Spring Curling Iron.
“If you have wavy hair and just want it out of your face, this is a great way to do it,” says Babaii of Kate Beckinsale’s style. Pull your hair back from temple to temple and anchor by making an X with two bobby pins that are the same color as your strands. “It’s sexy, in a ’70s-Playboy-model-on-a-farm way,” he adds. Use a light styling spray, like Oribe Soft Lacquer Heat Styling Spray, and two different-size curling irons (a one-inch and a two-inch) to get a more haphazard texture.
With the (Head) Band
A skinny headband one inch back from the hairline, as seen at Louis Vuitton’s show, gives order to any updo. Get a similar runway effect with Jennifer Behr Crystal and Silk Ribbon Skinny headbands.
The topknot of the moment, shown here on Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is “more casual than a traditional updo,” says Babaii. “It looks done without looking stuffy or stiff,” and can be achieved in three easy steps: “Put your hair in a ponytail, pull it through one of those doughnut hair bands (like the one in the Conair Bun Maker Set) and finish with a few bobby pins and a soft-hold hair spray.”
Ess gave Lauren Conrad a hair tutorial via Skype before this Vegas event: After using two different-size curling irons on the hair, flip the head upside down and spray the heck out of your hair spray (Conrad used Dove Style+Care Strength & Shine Flexible Hold Hairspray). With your head still upside down, gather everything all the way at the crown and secure it with an elastic band. “A high ponytail looks best when it’s peeking over the head,” says Ess. Use a fine-tooth comb to tame any flyaways around your crown.
If you have naturally wavy or curly hair—like Jennifer Lopez’s—add a walnut-size blob of mousse to damp hair and scrunch it up with your hands, suggests Babaii. “Put hair spray on your fingertips before using them to rake it all back in the middle of your head,” he says. He likes adding an element of surprise with colorful ponytail holders, like the light pink one Lopez is wearing here.
This look, from Herve Leger’s spring 2012 show, is sleek and sophisticated, but doesn’t require as much elbow grease as you might expect. Hairstylist Neil Moodie started out by spritzing a cocktail of Bumble & Bumble Prep Spray and Styling Lotion on the models’ damp hair, then blow-drying it straight. With elastic bands that matched each model’s hair color, he created three separate ponytails: One level with the top of the ear, the second gathered at the bottom of the ear; and one at the nape of the neck. “It’s a little like a Mohawk, but not as aggressive,” says Moodie. He finished with Bumble & Bumble Does It All Styling Spray all over the head.
Hairstylist Orlando Pita created this look at Giambattista Valli, inspired by a woman who “goes from her boat, into the ocean, to a party, back to her boat, and off to another island, totally carefree,” he says. “She dips her hands in the water and scrapes her hair back, wetting just the front and keeping the back still dry.” [Sounds like someone we want to hang out with this summer.] Get the look by running mousse through damp hair (at Valli, Pita used L’Oréal Professional TechniArt Mousse). Blow-dry it back, then slick a lightweight gel from your roots to about ear level. Run a wide-tooth comb through the hair, starting at the forehead to the back of your head. Seal with a light hair spray, like L’Oréal TechniArt Fix Design.